All Blacks great Sonny Bill Williams has spoken out after the devastating news Fijian centre Josua Tuisova will play in the final game against Portugal despite the news his seven-year-old son has died. The rugby community was left devastated after the tragic news about Tuisova's son, Tito, who died only hours before Fiji defeated Georgia 17-12 in Bordeaux.
Tuisova played in the game and was credited for staying around for 30 minutes after the final whistle to sign autograph for fans. The images now have an even deeper meaning.
Fiji are set to advance to the knockout stages of the World Cup having defeated the Wallabies earlier in the group stages. The flying Fijians only need a bonus point against Portugal to advance and sending the Wallabies packing.
And despite the tragic news, Tuisova has opted to stay with his national side in an attempt to deliver the nation a stunning moment. Tuisova's father, Isikeli Ratulevu, told the Fiji Village that his son would remain in France and miss his Tito's funeral on Tuesday.
“With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of our beloved Tito Micgabraph Donzel Ratulevu,” a statement read. “He is the son of Mr Josua Tuisova and Mrs Katarina Ladoge Ramoce. Affectionately known as “Tito,” he peacefully departed after a prolonged battle with a debilitating illness in Lautoka Hospital.”
Rugby community rallies around Josua Tuisova
And All Blacks great Williams has weighed-in on the devastating situation. Taking to social media, Williams said he was 'heartbroken' at the news and sent Tuisova his best wishes.
"Man only just heard the news. My heart hurts for my Fijian brother. Sending love to you and your family," he wrote. "You are an inspiration to many around the world bro."
The rugby community also rallied around Tuisova and hoped he was receiving the support needed during the difficult times in France. Many praised his willingness to stay around and sign autographs for fans only hours after the news.
Man only just heard the news. My heart hurts for my Fijian brother. Sending love to you and your family @josua44020055 . You are an inspiration to many around the world bro ❤️❤️ https://t.co/N8zE21mdJo
— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) October 3, 2023
The Tuisova news makes this even more incredible.
Can't even begin to think how he must have been feeling after finding out he lost his son just before the game, and still stays long after the final whistle to sign autographs.
Unbelievable ❤️#RWC2023 https://t.co/cKiJ2yZMru
— Tight Five Rugby (@TightFive_Rugby) October 3, 2023
A man with a big heart ❤️
— Xoey Boutique (@__Xoey) October 3, 2023
Putting a on a smile for the fans while mourning the loss of his son 💔
— Inoke Veikoso (@KnoxVeikoso) October 3, 2023
I actually can’t comprehend this - talk about a sacrifice.
Beyond devastating, but I hope somehow Rugby is a sanctuary. Fiji are an incredibly spiritual group- so I hope that helps the man we love to watch so much.
— Rob Vickerman (@robvickerman) October 3, 2023
This morning, a greater meaning behind this video has emerged.
Unimaginable what Josua Tuisova is experiencing right now.pic.twitter.com/cw4CUQiQrz
— Joe Harvey (@joeharvey34) October 3, 2023
Tuisova plays for Racing 92 and has enjoyed a stellar World Cup so far. He was named player of the match against the Wallabies in their historic victory. Fiji only need a bonus point to finish second in the group and reach just their third World Cup knockout stage in the nation's history.
They will play England in the quarter-final if they finish second in the group.
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